Dubai: Indian software development company Zoho has launched a new initiative to support start-ups in Dubai by providing free licenses during the incubation stage.

Ali Shabdar, business development director for the Middle East and Africa at Zoho Corporation, told Gulf News the biggest ongoing challenges start-ups face in the region are raising funds and having access to top skills and platform.

However, he said that the start-up scene in the region has been experiencing steady and healthy growth, with both the public and private sectors launching initiative and programmes to help nurture this budding ecosystem.

“It is part of our international programme and part of corporate social responsibility and we have had a successful launch in India. We offer our services during the incubation period so that they can put their entire hard-earned money into their product and focus on building and delivering services on our platform rather than on overhead and costs,” he said.

However, he said that they [start-ups] can stay on their platform for one year.

“Within a year, a start-up can come out of the incubation stage; otherwise, they have to go to the drawing board to see what the problem is. When the time comes and business starts becoming profitable, they already have a powerful system in the back end to help them grow faster,” he said.

After one year, he said the company can stay on their platform by paying a fee or exit totally without any strings attached.

“We have started with 100 licenses but it can go up. We have plans to launch the programme in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain shortly,” he said.